Las Vegas’ Bellagio pauses fountain show when rare bird visits

This photo of Wednesday, March 6, 2024, shows the fountain lake at the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Hotels officials said in social media post Tuesday March 5, that the popular “dancing fountains” show had been paused to allow Nevada state wildlife officials to rescue a rare, yellow-billed loon that found its way to the artificial lake. (Photo Ken Ritter / AP)

By Frank Alejandre

March 6, 2024

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A visit from a rare, fine-feathered tourist has interrupted one of Las Vegas’ prominent shows.

The Bellagio said in a social media post Tuesday that it paused its fountains as it worked with state wildlife officials to rescue a yellow-billed loon who “found comfort on Las Vegas’ own Lake Bellagio.”

The yellow-billed loon is an international species of concern that is considered to be “one of the 10 rarest birds that regularly breed on the mainland U.S.,” according to the National Park Service.

“We are happy to welcome the most exclusive guests,” the Bellagio said in its post.

Initially, the Bellagio’s fountain shows were paused while officials figured out how to proceed, an MGM Resorts International spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Wildlife officials determined that the bird wasn’t bothered, and the show was cleared Tuesday to resume, but a spokesperson later said the shows would remain on hold.

The Associated Press sent an email Wednesday seeking updated information from an MGM spokesperson, including when the shows might resume.

Concerned birders called the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Southern Nevada office asking the agency to intervene, spokesperson Doug Nielsen said. The bird likely sought shelter from a storm, Nielsen said, noting that it isn’t uncommon for migratory birds to visit the valley.

A rescue mission might be necessary if the bird stays too long, but for now, the agency plans to monitor the situation in hopes that the bird will realize it needs a more regular food source and move on, he said.

“We’re just going give it space,” Nielsen said. “Hopefully, it’ll say: ‘Gee, I’m not finding anything swimming in here, so I probably need to go.’”

  • Frank Alejandre

    Frank Alejandre is the Community Editor of The Nevadan / El Nevadense. He graduated from the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) with a degree in Civil Engineering. He has worked in journalism since 1990, first at El Mundo Newspaper, the first Spanish-language weekly publication in southern Nevada, and then at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where he helped the RJ transition its Spanish language publication El Tiempo newspaper to the Las Vegas Review-Journal en Español.

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